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  1. #16
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Over the past 33 years, that I've been in the computer business, I've set up backup systems for Banks, Corporations, private businesses, CEO's, and personal computer users.

    There is one theme that has always carried forward from DOS, to Windows 95 and on to today and Windows 8.1

    Will your last backup be restorable, to a new and blank hard drive, when your OS hard drive has just gone up in smoke?

    To assure that the answer to this age-old question is always "YES!", I employ these simple rules:

    The backup/restore program should not be on the OS Drive, but on some, bootable and removable media and in several copies, for safety. Originally this was a floppy disk, but today it can be either a CD or a Bootable Flash Drive.

    Then the backup Image file(s) should be also on some removable media that can be stored in a SAFE place.

    In 1997 an unknown company in New Zealand released a program called "Ghost". It worked!
    In a little shop I was working in at the time, we used it for cloning small hard drives to bigger hard drives, for our customers. In those days, we could run it from a 3.5" Floppy Disk.

    In a computer store that I was in today, I was talking with the tech and I was surprised to find out that they still use the DOS version of Ghost 11.5, to clone hard drives. It's quick, simple and just Works!
    That completely takes Windows out of the equation, so it can't screw things up.

    Sorry this ran so long.

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  2. #17
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The regimen that I have tested and used allowed me to escape digitally unscathed from a house fire that claimed 2 PC's and 2 laptops (and the house).

    We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. Backup is one of those things that can be accomplished in many ways, with many different tools, successfully.

    The easiest way to make sure that an image works is to restore it. In forums and threads all over Windows Secrets the warning has been repeated that one should not store images on the same drive or in the same computer, but on a separate external drive.

    Most also advise having two external drives, rotating their use, storing multiple backups, and storing at least one external drive off site.

    The best backup regimen is one that will be used regularly, tested often, with backups kept in a safe place.

    The least useful backup is the backup one intends to make.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  3. #18
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    The least useful backup is the backup one intends to make.
    I love it! That's another way to say what I've been saying for the past 33 years......
    Great minds, like soup, run together! Eh?

    "The only bad backup, is the one that you decided NOT to make". (just before your HD crashed)
    Even back in the early DOS days, I've been setting up backup schemes for my friends and customers.

    My own safest backups, are the ones I burn to DVD's and then take 20 miles away and store in a Fireproof Vault. [Every backup should be Validated, before it's considered finished]

    Since 1997, my backup program of choice has been Ghost, run from a bootable disk. Originally that was a 3.5" floppy disk, but today, its a Flash Drive or CD.

    The fastest backup is always to a second internal hard drive. That's not possible on most laptops, so an external (USB) drive will do. That external drive can be either a real hard drive, or a large Flash Drive.
    I use both, on my main system for data backups, which I do daily.

    One line in a batch file, using the old DOS command "XCOPY" does a daily Incremental Data Backup, to both of my USB drives, and only takes a few seconds to complete. It really don't get no simpler than that. Eh?

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor
    Last edited by DrWho; 2013-09-19 at 12:16.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  4. #19
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    I agree with The Doctor that data backups are brain-dead simple. I use copy commands for these, both in Windows and in Linux. If I had a large number of large files which change daily, I might use some sort of Sync or Cloud Sync routines. If I were using a Tablet, tethering to back up or syncing either locally or in the Cloud would be the best options, I would think. The right tool for the right job.
    -- Bob Primak --

  5. #20
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    Many thanks guys, a very interesting read. I created an image and saved that to another internal hard disk from a USB boot flash drive with Macrium Reflect, then rebooted back to desktop and used PC for a few days while uninstalling programs, changing my wallpaper, Windows and Firefox theme. Then restored the image using the boot flash drive and the internal hdd. Back as it was, and it took only six minutes to restore.

    Copied the image to an external USB hdd, then deleted both Windows and Program Files folders - yes really. At reboot Windows wouldn't start (can't imagine why), so shutdown, connected ext hdd and boot USB flash drive and restored the image. OK.

    Now an external hdd with both image and data is stored off site. Data is also in the cloud as well as on several DVDs and another hdd stored in a dry shed at the back of the garden - complete with moisture absorbent stuff inside paper towels, then a hand towel in a small sealed cardboard box . Easy to get at and update.

    Again, thanks for your Comments.

  6. #21
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    irjc,

    Paper towels, Towels, Cardboard? These are all moisture absorbent materials. I'd ditch these for a Plastic box with desiccant packs (those little packs of beads that come in packaging). I'm just sayin... HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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